CaringBridge Is Only Possible With Your Support

Honor Oliver with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge.

Make Your Donation Today >>

Oliver’s Story

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

- Emily Dickinson

On February 25th 2011, we took Oliver to the ER for what we thought were health issues related to constipation. After a bevy of tests, the doctors found a sacrococcygeal teratoma (which is a type of "germ cell tumor") growing from his tailbone into his abdominal cavity. The tumor was impacting his bladder, causing his belly distention and lots of discomfort. He was immediately transferred to the Pediatric Oncology unit at UNC's Children's Hospital. A few days later, Oliver underwent biopsy surgery to confirm the type of tumor and its stage of development, which the doctors determined was "stage 3". Oliver's tumor was malignant but had not metastasized.

Oliver underwent the standard protocol to treat his type of cancer, which was 4 rounds of chemotherapy (starting 3/4/2011). Each round took 5 days with a 2 week break in-between. After 4 rounds, the tumor shrunk in size by half. In early June '11, Oliver had major surgery where the surgeon removed all he (safely) could but the pathology report confirmed residual cancerous cells. So surgery was followed by 2 more rounds of chemo in the hopes that would kill what was leftover. However, after two months off treatment, Oliver's AFP level (tumor marker) started to rise again and scans confirmed regrowth.

After much despair and sadness, we regrouped and started on "Plan B." Oliver's oncologist selected a new chemo cocktail this time (Taxol, Carboplatin, Ifosfamide). Oliver completed two rounds and the tumor showed a really good response. Then on December 12th, Oliver underwent another major surgery. This time we went to Sloan-Kettering in New York, placing Oliver in the hands of some of the best solid tumor surgeons in the world. The team had to remove the bottom three joints of his sacrum as well as some rectum in order to get the tumor out "en bloc." The surgery, which lasted 12 hours, was a big success with clean margins all around. Next Oliver underwent two more rounds of chemotherapy in January '12 to kill any lingering cancer cells. Now we are in the watch-and-wait phase where Oliver gets regular scans & blood tests and we pray for NED (no evidence of disease.)

Oliver has a world-wide army of family & friends that surround him with love (in person & in spirit). He is an amazingly strong and resilient little boy, and we are committed to doing WHATEVER it takes to help him triumph over this horrible disease.

Latest Journal Update

AFP Lowest Ever

We received the fantastic news that Oliver's AFP is 1.2 which is the lowest it has ever been! So that is major cause for celebration (and once again, a huge relief for us.) :-)

The stats on his kidneys are not as great as we'd hoped, plus his blood pressure is a bit on the high side. His doctor assured us that this isn't an emergency situation, but we need to follow up with nephrology in the next few months. So we'll add that to the list of things to tackle. 

Thanks for the guestbook messages, responses to our journal posts and the likes! It is great to hear from friends & family, near and far, and to know that you are all still out there actively rooting for Oliver. 

4 people hearted this



Franklin Floyd
By Franklin Floyd
This sounds fantastic! I know you and Jed and the rest of you family are thrilled to get this news...I do know how overjoyed you are when you get news like this. So glad that Franklin's buddy, Oliver is doing so well.

As you know, Franklin has kidney troubles too. The same genetic mutation that gave Franklin cancer also gives him a very unique ongoing kidney disease and his kidney will not last forever, probably not even until he is a teenager. We used to see Dr. Bill Primack at UNC Nephrology, but he retired this past December, sadly. Luckily though, we have been seeing Katherine Westreich there. Dr. Primack introduced us to her. She is a fellow now, but wants to take one of the 2 open slots for attending in nephrology. We are told she will get one of the spots. The attending that Dr. Westreich works under is Dr. Keisha Gibson. Dr. Primack trained Dr. Gibson. Long story short, D.r Westreich is Franklin's doctor and she is fantastic. I can't say enough good things about her. In fact, Franklin has a follow up appointment with her on August 5th. Dr. Westreich has a little boy the same age as Oliver. I would recommend her, but I believe they are all good.


Kittie McKinney
By Kittie McKinney
AFP 1.2 is awesome!!! The doctors will fix the BP and kidneys. 🎈🎈🎈🎈
Love you all. GK9
1 person hearted this
By Love, Wandre
What wonderful news for all of you, but especially for that precious boy! Still praying for him!
1 person hearted this
mary knowles
By mary knowles
always good to get good news. 'Hope you sooner rather than later receive good news re the kidney also. Praise the Lord for all He has done.

Mary Kate Knowles (Franklin Floyd's Grandma)
1 person hearted this
Jill Dunn
By Jill Dunn
Yay! Great news of the AFP! And I agree, the rest will get taken care of.
1 person hearted this
Peter Watson
By Peter
Great news! Glad to hear Rock n' Roll's newest legend-in-the-making is doing well. Lowest AFP's ever, that's just awesome. And the robot Daft Punk performance is just epic. Elementary school will never be the same.
1 person hearted this
Yiling Chappelow
By Yiling
YAY! This is awesome!! So Happy for you all!! ^__^
1 person hearted this
Sarah Stein
Stacy & Jed, such wonderful news on the stats! The rest will get taken care of.
Many blessings on you all
1 person hearted this
Barbara Smith
By Barbara D Smith
Great news! You all are always in my prayers. Love you--

Aunt Barbara
1 person hearted this